I am free of all prejudices. I hate everyone equally.~W. C. Fields
Dammit, I really loved Blanchard's skating. Maybe he can team up with James and skate for France?
Too bad, I don't buy the reason; I think Maria was just too impatient to give the partnership time to grow.
What a shame--I thought they were so elegant together and had a lot of potential.
I don't think M&B are done - I believe it's a ploy by Vassiliev to get more support from the Russian federation. I do not like Vassiliev, and the dislike goes all the way back to his competitive days. Good for Valova for getting away from him...
The exhibition by Tanya & Max proves once again that he is not good enough for her. Then again, nobody probably is.
I don't understand where the really bad skaters are getting their money from? I hate to drop names but skaters like Ozerova and Golubev. I know Maria would never leave Oleg but I think that would be the best thing for her. She needs to go to Moskvina and skate with Bezmaternikh, or is she too tall?
After becoming 7th in the Russian nationals there were romours the skater would continue skating but would represent France. Andrey Simomenko spoke to the coach Oleg Vasiliev.
AS: What is going on with Mukhortova/Blanchard now?
OV: During the period after the nationals we were looking for means to go on working. But it all comes to a dead end with the finances. Since we became 7th at the nationals and didn't make it to the team we didn't get any federal or regional support. The sponsors... We had talks with our current and potential sponsors. They showed some interest and wanted to go on supporting the team, but without the govermental help continuing working is indeed hard. Hence after hesitating for several weeks we decided to close the project. Each of us have plans for the future, this part of our lives is over.
AS: What is the govermental support is about?
OV: First of all neither the St. Petersburg no Russian federation can send the pair to an international event. Second - the skaters have no salary. mainly it's about Blanchard really - Maria is still payed by Chazov (the head of sports in St. Petersburg) it was impossible to get a scolarship for Jerome since he is a foreigner and has no past achievemnts for Russia. We supported him for half a year, but we can not hold on for the next 12 months. After we did the calculations we figure we need around 100K$ till the next Russian nationals, and that at the very least. That is without the costumes, or a good choreographer, which would cost another 50-70K.
AS: Did you ask the St. Petersburg or Russian Figure skating Federation for help so Maria and Jerome can go on skating?
OV: St. Petersburg federation supported us for the firs 6 months of our work. When we were nobodies I went to Chazov, to Oleg Nilov (the head of St. Petersburg Figure Skating Federation) and told him about the Mukhortova/Blanchard project and asked to support us. At the end they both helped us as much as they can, for which we are very grateful. Based on the promise only that we are to create an interesting pair they covered 70% of our expenses. As for the RFSF they fired me on 31/52010 from being the head figure skating coach in the centre of Russian teams preparation. Where, generally, all our coaches work. Hence the support from the RFSF was nill.
AS: Have you considered skating for France? After they didn't do so well in Saransk you were talking about a `plan B', which many took as a hint for a country switch.
OV: No, we considered skating for France at the beginning. We did not hide we spoke to the French Federation, but we decided to represent Russia back in July. After that we didn't hesitate. We didn't turn to any other countries the skateres could represent in tshoe couple of weeks either.
The `Plan A' was our real goal - to make it to the team and participate in the Europeans and the Worlds. `Plan B' was kept in case we wouldn't do too weel at the nationals and then would participate B internationals. But with the 7th place in the nationals it didn't work either - we would have to finish 4-5th. In the case that actually happend we had a `Plan C' - to regroup and work on the real programmes and not the trash we prepared within a couple of weeks. To work on the new elements for which we didn't have time etc. But for that we needed financial support ,which I mentioned before and which we haven't found in the month after the Nationals.
AS: So what prevents you from turning to the French federation now? Mukhortova/Blanchard did not participate any ISU competitions and could represent France straight away.
OV: That's a principal. The skaters can only grow if there is a competition. There is none in France. There is one pair who are, well, not worth much. The pair wouldn't be stimlulated to progress. They would just participate the Europeans and the Worlds... They wouldn't have a reason to overcome the `I don't feel like', which is the only way to gain something serious. No, they could represent any country - France, Singapure, any African country. It's just that it holds no interest for me.
AS: How did they take the end of the project? I thought at the beginning of December they were very eager and hopeful.
OV: Everythign changes, and sometimes rapidly. At first, at the beginning of the year it was mentally hard, then there was a glimpse of hope that we'll find the solution. But as one after another things didn't work out it became more and more clear we hit the dead end. We sat down and spoke and came to a decision which I just voiced out.
AS: So if someone shows up with those 100K$ you and the skaters will change your mind?
OV: Theoretically, we might. But see, being realistic - that amount is not enough. Our supporters were generally ready to invest that much. But it's not just about the money. We also need the support from the federation - the St. Petersburg, and most importantly, the RFSF. Because the project Mukhortova/Blanchard is not regional, it's goals are much higher. But the RFSF did not support us at all, actually the other way around. So just the money will not save us.
AS: What do the skaters do now.
OV: Maria still trains daily in St. Petersburg. Jerome left back to Lyon a couple of days ago. I'm leaving to the USA to do things' I didn't have time to do while I was coaching Mukhortova/Blanchard and Mukhortova/Trankov prior to that. Then am going to Singapure and several other countries, and then within two weeks I'll be back to Russia. Maria will be midning her business in St. Petersburg, Jerome in Lyon - his. At the end of February we'll meet again, look each other in the eyes. If we dont' change our minds - everything will be left as it is now.
Not a big surprise if the Russian fed dropped the funding. I think nationals was the event to decide where to invest their money. The 3 teams that went to Euros didn't even include the Nationals winner or I/M who did quite well on the GP circuit. Having 6 teams ahead of M/B is pretty daunting. They've been together as long as V/T and G/E so I think they had a fair trial as far as the federation is concerned. There are other options if they want to skate and still make another olympic run, but I suspect they're done.
Those who never succeed themselves are always the first to tell you how.
It sounds weird Vassiliev said that M/B shouldn't skate for France or any other country since they need competition to get motivated. But they had competition in Russia and didn't do that well at Nationals ! If their goal is to go to international championships, they could do that skating for France, and go to Europeans and Worlds where they would have gotten the competition they were looking for...
Vassiliev's reasons just sounds weird. Can it be that when he saw that M/B were not competitive enough this year, he had decided to go with another top team, I/M, in order to get medals at Russian Nationals and stay in Russia with a top team ?
The reasons Vasiliev gave for not skating for France are so crazy--come on you can compete with the whole world if they go to international competitions. Most likely, France did not want to give him the plush package he's after (assuming Russia would have released Maria). I don't like this guy...really hope he stays away from my darling I/M!
I am glad that S/S don't feel like Vassiliev because Germany is not that deep and competitive (especially when they teamed up together) and they seem plenty motivated.
If he means that M/B would have to beat the top Russian pairs anyway, then this is true. If he means it's strictly funding and motivation then I too am baffled.
Thanks for the translation TAHbKA!
The reasons Vasiliev gives for M/B not skating for France sound like BS to me. "The skaters can grow only of there is competition". M/B would have met with competition in international events way before their national championships. Plus, to be honest especially Maria doesn't seem to shine in situations of competition.
Frankly, even I can think of a reason for firing Vasiliev from that particular function: It must be bad for the morale to have the male version of Moaning Myrtle as head coach.
Am a bit bored tonight, so here are some more translations:
Rukavitsin: my skaters are ready for anything by Irina Vasilieva
Tow of Rukavitsin's skaters participate the Europeans in Bern. Makarova became 5th, Menshov - 7th.
IV: What will you remember from Bern -your first Europeans as a coach?
ER: An incredible cold on the ice rink. We had to adapt to those conditions there because back home it's +15C on our ice rink. It's a huge difference. The skaters had to warm up more intensivly so they wouldn't injure themselves before the acutal competition begins. Fortunately we overcame that.
IV: Menshov admited that at the end of his LP he couldn't hear the music behind the crowd. Did you imagine your pupil would be supported so mcuh? Was he ready for that?
ER: After the Cup of Russia in Moscow Konstanting told me that when he was preparing for his first quad in the programme he lost his focus because of the shouts. After we came back to St. Petersburg I took certain measures. For example during the training I would behave well, like an idiot. But he never lost his concentration, so he was ready for it. On the other hand you can't get prepared to all the possible situations - something might happen any minute and one has to be ready. This is why he did his final steps sequence brilliantly, even though he couldn't hear the music.
IV: But he failed his quad in t he SP. What happened?
ER: For both of us it was unexpected. At the trainings he never failed his jumps. From the technical point of view - he made a mistake - he started the jump a bit more sharply than he should have before he reached his pushing leg. This was the reason. Why did it happen we still have to figure. Menshov is very emptional - when he is told he must skate well for Russia, to be decent and gain three spots for the next year he is overwhelmend. He doesn't need any extra motivation - he is doing all he can as it is.
IV: Did the 14th place in the SP change anything?
ER: It probably helped a bit. I came to his hotel after the SP and we had a long talk. I told him he must never give up. On the other hand I was trying to be neutral without frazes like `you still have something to loose'
IV: Did you keep in mind the Europeans will determine who goes to the worlds?
ER: I couldn't not to. Konstantin just wanted to show what he is capable to do. He did so in his LP. Had he been in the last group anything could had happened, including a medal. It's not only about being able to do the ultra C elements, but about shwoing it, especially at such huge events as Europeans. I think we did 2/3 of that.
IV: What did you think of the new champion - Florant Amodio?
ER: I know him for a long time. It was interesting watching him. But he made an ambigious impression: on one hand he doesn't do the quad jumps. On the other he has an great command of the edge. When someone sings without a back voices it's hard to dance at the same time. The same in figure skating: in order to perform a quad a certain amount of concentration is needed. Where would you get it if you dance at the same time I have no idea. But all and all Amodio is an interesting skater. He has his own looks. He will not be mixed with the others.
IV: His winning in Bern revived the discussion whether the quad is needed in the men skating. Both the Olympic games and the Europeans won by the skaters who did not include the quad in their programmes. Is it needed really?
ER: I agree. In the LP Menshov landed two quad jumps being the only one who did. Of course it's a shame it is not rewarded as it should and doesn't allow a bigger margin. But those are the rules. If the ISU will change them perhaps we'll have more room.
IV: The level of the ladies in Europe is so low, that Sarah Meier who won it would not make it to the top 3 in the USA nationals. What do you think is the reason?
ER: Indeed the level of the ladies in Europe is lower. The main competitors are the Americans, Canadians, Japanese. If an american skater is performed it would be discussed how good her skating skills are, her gliding and how much soul she put into her skate. If it's a European skater the comments would be less excited. Though I personally don't see that much difference. I guess the components depend on the standings, that can be gained by skating well throughout the years. Perhaps for the Americans it's a bit less, for the Europeans a bit more. But if a European skater is consistent for severla season the reputation and the world standing would be enough to compete with the americans and the canadians. Right now Makarova's goal is to skate till the Olympics in Sochi consistently and well and gain the needed points and reputation.
IV: The Makarova's participating the Olympics is clear, but what about Menshov? He is quite old. Will he be able to hold it for another 3 years and made it to the team?
ER: I'm worried about it as well. We have to find the right amount of training, developing, gliding, trianing time. God forbid he injuries himself. Despite his age he developed quite lately. His physiological age, so to say will allow him to skate for many years more. The reputation is another thing, he is almost 28 y.o. after all. We'll try to keep him in the same shape he was skating his LP at the Europeans. If we'll make it - he can be a competition at least to the Russian skaters
dunno, half of the time I had an impression either Rukavicin was not answering the questions he was asked or the journalist didn't bother talking to him at all, taking his answers from elsewhere and putting them after not necessarily related questions. Since I don't know either Vasilieva nor Rukavicin am not sure which is it, but it is only IMHO
I love how he can acknowledge ...The audacity to know that you're putting trash together and still think you can/should make a world team ahead of B&L, I&M and other couples who have worked hard to construct intricate, balanced programs. The feckin arrogance.....did he think his team had a right because they were just that, HIS team?the trash we prepared within a couple of weeks.
Translation, we need the POLITIK power of the fed.Our supporters were generally ready to invest that much. But it's not just about the money. We also need the support from the federation - the St. Petersburg, and most importantly, the RFSF. Because the project Mukhortova/Blanchard is not regional, it's goals are much higher. But the RFSF did not support us at all, actually the other way around. So just the money will not save us
The man and his mantra are a disease to the sport IMO.